“The president empathised with our situation and gave his blessing to those who felt like running as independent candidates. He urged the rest to join his campaign team with the assurance that they would be accommodated in government once he go re-elected,” says Sakuda.
Moses Sakuda’s stubborn opposition to the merger between the TNA and URP parties, prior to the 2017 elections, strained his ralations with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“While the president genuinely felt the merger would unite Kenyans, something told me that DP William Ruto had a hidden agenda,” recalls Sakuda, the former Kajiado West MP. “Whenever I expressed my reservations to Uhuru, he would tell me that my opposition was due to the fact that I feared losing my treasured status at TNA’s ‘first born’.”
This was in reference to the fact that Sakuda and the recently deceased Tiras Ngahu of Kangema were the first MPs to be elected on a TNA ticket. Their election was a result of by-election in Kajiado North and Kangema, following the deaths of Prof George Saitoti and John Michuki respectively, in September 2012.
At the time, Sakuda recalls that Ruto used to say that TNA and URP would merge into a big Jubilee party for the future. “I told him that I didn’t trust his intentions and that he had ulterior motives towards the end of Uhuru’s presidency,” he adds.
What he failed to realise at the time was that his sentiments towards the DP would cost him big time. The hour of reckoning, for Sakuda came during the Jubilee party nominations in 2017, when he lost to George Sunkuyia, the then Keekonyokie MCA. “There is no way I lost to Sunkuyia,” charges Sakuda. “Ruto camped at Jubilee House and proceeded to rig out all the strong candidates so as to install puppets he could easily control.”
The uneasy relations between Sakuda and Ruto were a long way in coming. Sakuda recalls an event where the DP came to Kajiado to officiate over the opening of a medical facility along the Kiserian Isinya Road, when he jokingly said that he would be the one to succeed Uhuru as Kenya’s president.
The joke, according to Sakuda did not go down well with Ruto but he opted not to show it. “I paid the price by losing the bungled Jubilee nominations,” alleged Sakuda.
With emotions still running high among candidates who felt unfairly bundled out of the nomination exercise, Uhuru called a meeting in State House. “There were 65 of us in that State House meeting,” recalls Sakuda. “The president empathised with our situation and gave his blessing to those who felt like running as independent candidates. He urged the rest to join his campaign team with the assurance that they would be accommodated in government once he go re-elected.”
Sakuda took his chances and went the independent route and emerged an impressive second behind Sunkuyia. “I would have petitioned Sunkuyia’s election in court but I chose to instead go the handshake route with the new MP,” he explains. He was also alive to the fact that he has close family ties with Sunkuyia, since the MP is married to Sakuda’s niece.
He now points at the chaotic situation in Jubilee and the bad blood between Uhuru and Ruto and says that he has finally been vindicated. “If TNA and URP continued as parallel parties, right now Ruto would have nobody in his UDA,” adds Sakuda.
Tommorow: The fourth and final part: find out why Sakuda is going back into politics